5 Amazing Green Concepts To Combat Global Catastrophes

How clean smart, sustainable and clean technology can solve today's global problems and what future can we hope for.

Introduction

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We read daily article about new technology that should solve all the problems we've created upon ourselves. Cleaner energy, cheaper construction, recycled materials, less waste, more efficiency...

In theory every one of these ideas could save the world from another man-made disaster.

Practice, however, has taught us that not every idea, no matter how genius can make it in the harsh reality. We all know that real world situations far exceed the mathematically accurate drawing board. In fact, Michael Hobbs covers quite a few brilliant plans that bellied up due to random factors and unpredictable human behaviour.

In return, I will be covering great designs that made it and proved innovation is the only salvation for our planet. Maybe not as descriptive, maybe not as scientific and surely my opinion is the one of a fan, rather than an expert, but bare with me as I cover a few good deeds by a few good people and the problems they can solve.

1. Earthship - The Greenest House On Earth

The Earthship concept was conceived back in the 70's by Texas architect Michael Reynolds.

It's a house built mostly of recycled materials like tin cans, glass and plastic bottles, old tires and raw dirt from the dig site. Along being a small recycling plant on it's own and saving on development costs by using close to free materials, this process utilizes a technology called thermal mass. This technology uses pure amounts of mass, material density and thickness to store, distribute and regulate heat levels, essentially cooling in the summer and warming in the winter.

Furthermore, the house is equipped with renewable energy and resource stations, like solar arrays, wind-turbines, rain water collectors and purifiers. Ultimately, this home is completely disconnected from the public utility networks and generates it's own power, water and heating.

The internal systems are designed as to reuse resources as much as possible. Water collected from the rain goes into use 4 times before it's finally flushed out of the Earthship.

While the technology to generate your own power will cost a decent investment, it's by far outweighed by the cost of the rest of the materials and the construction. Furthermore, having a free house with free bills is the best investment for the rest of your life.

Upcycling the already created trash; extremely cheap in construction and development; sturdy to time and the elements; low impact; self-sufficient on utilities; passive energy production and heating; smart resource management, the Earthship represents the best sustainable housing concept we can offer to the world at this time being.

Because his invention was greatly criticised by architectural associations and the governmental bodies of Texas, Reynolds had to defend his profession and his invention for almost 20 years in the American court system. This is why the concept has gone under the radar for so many years and is only picking up popularity in recent years.

If you're in for the juicy details, this article describes the entire process thoroughly: Earthships - The Ultimate Green Homes

2. The Carbon Positive House - How To Have A Positive Coefficient of Efficiency

Following the same notion, ArchiBlox, an Australian developer and manufacturer of modular pre-fabricated homes, has created a house that not only balances the energy it uses, it exceeds it.

The "Carbon Positive House" is currently on display at Melbourne's City Square. It's systems are carefully planned and designed to get the most value out of any energy that comes in or out of the home.

For starters it's heavily insulated and airtight to prevent heat from escape and minimizing cooling needs. The cooling is then powered by underground tubes that draw cool air from the soil underneath the house. To add to the cooling effect, the house benefits from a green roof and a sliding vertical garden walls. This extra insulation prevents the burning Australian sun from heating up the interior in the warm months, while the sliding walls give you control over the temperature inside.

The facade is a double-glazed window wall optimized for maximum sunlight gain, just like the Earthship is.

The interior is an open-plan space with the common area being the centre of it and all utility rooms and private bedrooms taking the sides and corners, giving the entire home an equal distribution of fresh air and heating. Using the most modern materials, the home is as sustainable as a pipe-line production house can get.

All these factors and much more scientific ones which I don't understand nearly well enough to explain to other people contribute to a positive coefficient of efficiency. Meaning this home will produce more energy than it's inhabitants will consume. I'm pretty sure if you really try, you can break that rule, but why would you.

3. Bio Fuels - Making Something Shitty Into Something Witty...Literally

Bio fuels have been under discussion for quite a while. While this part is not attributed to a single person or company, I want to give two good examples of why you should start getting your shit together (again...Literally) and start making something useful out of it.

Bio Bus is a newly launched transportation system in the United Kingdom. The name is pretty self-explanatory, the company uses modified buses that run on bio-methane, generated from sewage and human waste. Bristol Sewage Works hosts the fuel processing facilities, where 75 million cubic metres of sewage waste and 35 thousand tonnes of food waste are processed each year. Those will now be fully used in the generation of bio-methane to power our Bio-Bus and maybe someday more of the UK's public transportation system. Along with the bus, GENeco also injects bio-gas directly into the national gas network and powers an estimate of 8,500 homes solely with this reprocessed fuel.

While it's certainly not the end of fossil fuels, it's a step towards it. Plus, converting something that's bad for everyone into something that's good for everyone is a sure win, no matter the  angle.

The "poop bus", as called by the public, runs it's routes between Bath and Bristol Airport since the end of November and receives awfully good popularity among British residents and government officials.

And, if you think this technology is available only for the developed countries of the first world, you're more wrong than you've ever been. As proof, I'll leave you with this group of Kenyan 17 year olds, who managed to transform the poorly designed sewage system of their newly built school dormitory into a safe to use, clean and free cooking fuel.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ziS7yYFT6jc

4. Seed Bomber - How Bombing For Somebody's Wood Suddenly Became A Good Thing

Deforestation is one of the greatest and most threatening problems on this planet. Vegetation is the single backbone that drives the entire food chain, balances the atmosphere's constitution and single handedly controls the planet. Without it, there is no future for nothing, but the naked rock.

Around 120 to 150 thousand square kilometres of forests are lost each year. This is roughly equivalent to 36 football fields every minute. Why and how does this happen is worth of a whole series of articles on it's own, so we'll just press on the topic of how to battle it.

Manually reforesting our planet would be equivalent to cleaning up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch with a pool net - practically impossible. Seeding vehicles can go faster and for longer times, but non-levelled terrains will prove difficult to reach.

So, what can travel fast over any terrain and spread seed and saplings of great amount ? If you're thinking planes, then you're on the right path. Seed bombing is a concept published by ex-RAF pilot Jack Walters. Walters had imagined aerial forestation by using low flying planes releasing a load of seed munition over the target terrain. Unfortunately for him, at the time of his publishing (the 80's) the concept wasn't technologically possible.

In 2015, this is no longer so. Lockheed Martin, a global defence and aeronautic engineering and development company has found a way to tackle the aerial forestation challenge in a refreshing manner.

The company retrofitted a fleet of old and decommissioned Hercules C-130 military transport planes to be the delivery system. Originally this plane was designed to carry and disperse land mines, so it's already a close match for what's needed. The process is pretty straightforward - the pilot reaches an area designated for forestation and then triggers the dispersion mechanisms to release a carpet bomb of tree cones.

Then comes the "seed bomb" itself. The bomb shell is the most important part of the entire project. It needs to be both durable as to protect the sapling from the impact and also have enough penetrating power as to actually plant the tree. And for the cherry of the cake, Lockheed managed to make it all from a biodegradable material to prevent pollution and enable a clean forestation process. On the inside, there is the sapling itself, obviously, a fertilizer and a substance that draws moisture from the surrounding soil into the roots.

And for areas that are not fit to be inhabited by trees, there is a special shrub-bomb prepared.

In total, one Hercules can plant up to 900,000 trees in a single day. And there are more than 2,500 unused C-130 aircrafts in 70 different countries. Combine that into one green-painted, plant-loaded armada and up to 7,500 square kilometres of land can be forested in just one year. That's a huge step in overturning the current fatal balance and creating new habitats for the thousands of animal species that are going extinct or near extinction every year.

5. Passive Water Cleaning - Best Design is One That Works By Itself

If you clicked on the link about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, you probably cried at least for 15 minutes. If you didn't, you have no soul. Jokes aside (though I wasn't really joking), the bottom line is our oceans are taking too big of a hit for "the team" and pollution levels are getting way over the critical lines...

Until recently we didn't really have a solution on how to clean a water body twice the size of Texas our of microscopic plastic particles. Current conventional methods are expensive and at best they are able to slow down the accumulation of trash in the gyres. But yet again, there is light in the tunnel. The good thing about water bodies is they are already moving on their own. That enables us to use passive technology and literally let the water clean itself out of the garbage we put in the first place.

A young 19 year old scientist by the name of Boyan Slat designed a sturdy plan of how the oceans can take care of themselves. The Ocean Cleanup Array is a huge network of floating booms. Those are to be place in pre-determined key locations, where water currents are ideal. The currents will pass through, leaving the trash they carry within the huge net. In the centre of the net, a processing platform will be placed to extract the garbage from the water.

With time, the endless stream of water will deliver constant supply of trash to be extracted, until there is nothing left to extract. It sound too easy to be true, but after Slat's idea hit the shelves he gained aid and created a non-profit organization that would research, develop and ultimately execute the project. Last year, the Ocean Clean Up organization published a thorough feasibility report that deemed the concept viable.

The design of the booms is both storm resistant, and durable to water and sun. Furthermore, it has unprecedented efficiency because it uses little to non external energy compared to scale, while at the same time equipped with renewable energy generators to compensate.

The project has gathered a huge following and great public reception, but it's still too early to prove it's worth in practice. That's why, I'll show you a smaller proof of concept that's actually deployed and already working hard to clean the Baltimore river. One of the key elements to stop ocean and marine pollution is to cut it out at the source - the cities.

Once released into the vastness of the oceans, garbage gets extremely hard to control and extract. However, in almost all cases it comes out of a much narrower river channel that's far easier to regulate. Thus, the "Water Wheel" was launched in Baltimore's iconic Inner Harbor. It hosts the largest outcoming water source. The water wheel is powered by the river itself, along with a solar collector array. A floating boom covers the entire width of the channel and directs all garbage towards the conveyor belt. It slowly but surely picks up all particles and trash items and throws them in the collector container, which is regularly swapped and dumped in the appropriate location.

The installation is capable of processing up to 25 tonnes of waste every day, and, to this day this number hasn't been reached. It's effective, low cost and practically free to run forever. Check out the video below to see how exactly it works.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v5l7s6wC50g

Conclusion

This article has highlight concepts that target human accommodation and housing, transportation, forestation, and pollution clean up and waste management. While there are many more global problems and issues and concerns; while there are many more clean technologies and concepts worthy of being covered and praised, I felt these sphere cover the most widely spread concerns of humanity. Bear than in mind in your responses.

About The Author:

Audrey Wright is a freelance writer, blogger and graphic designer from London. She's too big of a loud mouth for people's tastes, but she means good...most of the time.

You can find her in her blog -  dGeneralist, or follow all her social updates and content at RebelMouse.

As a writer needs to eat occasionally, she works online marketing for various London based companies for domestic services, like Move out Mates

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